The No-Middlemen Cooperative of Galatsi provides high-quality, locally produced and affordable food products, circumventing market intermediaries and directly connecting food producers with residents. It manages to turn a small profit despite offering quality produce that is 30% cheaper than in supermarkets.
The cooperative started in 2012 when austerity took its toll on Greece’s population. Many of Galatsi’s 100,000 residents could not afford their basic needs, so the cooperative decided to create a movement of solidarity and social rescue.
The No-Middlemen initiative grew out of the self-organised Social Cultural Centre Ambariza, active in Galatsi since 2008. Its first step was to choose a site in town where producers could make their products directly available to consumers, creating a win-win situation in which ‘no-middlemen’ prices were cheaper than the market retail price but higher than those given to producers by intermediaries.
The second step was to build a network of producers and create a leaflet with the available products and prices, distributed widely to generate pre-orders. Remaining loyal to its beliefs and solidarity aims, and without compromising quality, the cooperative’s profit margin was kept as low as possible, and still its prices are 30% cheaper than market prices.
Today almost 20% of Galatsi’s families have benefited from the cooperative, saving them €200,000 on their food bills. In addition, producers have donated about 2% of their sales to the initiative, which has been distributed to about 80 local families who could not afford their basic food needs. The cooperative won a seat in the local council in the latest local elections and its aim is to establish more participatory and distributed decision-making processes in Galatsi.
“The Cooperative of Galatsi has provided significant, concrete benefits to local residents. The initiative’s open air bazaars and cooperative shops serve all equally, and the initiative’s culture of cooperation demonstrates huge potential for serving public interests based on solidarity when public capacity and will are absent.”
– Satoko Kishimoto, evaluadora de Ciudades Transformadoras
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